The historic event of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI seems like as good a time as any to share with you the most regret-filled moment on our trip to Italy this summer. I haven’t said anything about it because it was once of those moments that I lost sleep over, for consecutive nights, and weeks and weeks later, I could *almost* laugh about with Paul and Fr. Tim. Almost.
We were at dinner on the feast of Corpus Christi. June 7, 2012. Me, Paul, Fr. Tim. Paul and I had spent the day sightseeing in Rome and visiting numerous churches. We didn’t have good luck that day, however, because two of the “major” churches were not accessible to us because the Holy Father would be there that evening to celebrate Corpus Christi. He was doing Benediction at one church and celebrating Mass at another.
That evening, as we were finishing up dinner, we heard helicopters overhead. As Fr. Tim is now a seasoned veteran of The Eternal City, he knew that would be people tracking the pope. We were having dinner near the Vatican and walked over to the back gate.
We waited a while, and it was fascinating. The crowd got bigger, but it was nice because while it was exciting, there wasn’t that crush of humanity like the audience (which was also amazing).
We stood there, watching and taking it all in. It was just one of those wonderful spans of time where the three of us stood and chatted and laughed. We talked to a few people nearby, but mostly just passed the time being together.
Then the security started lining the street. Not too many, and the best part was there was this woman, probably in her early 50s, who (as it turns out) is head of security for the Holy Father when he is out and about. And she was awesome. I want to be her when I grow up. So do Paul and Tim.
Slowly, you got that feeling that he was about to arrive. You could hear the helicopters getting closer, you could sense the energy from everyone, those in charge and those wanting to see. I was standing on the curb, right on the street. And just like that, flashing lights rounded the corner. Security, motorcycles, official Mercedes’ with official flags. I recorded it all with my phone (which takes amazing pictures and video). I recorded about five solid minutes.
Then you started hearing the clapping, and the cars really slowed down. There a few hundred feet up to my right, the Pope’s big black sedan rounded the corner. People started clapping and cheering. And I…
switched my phone from video to camera.
And this was the shot I got:
I was so close to Pope Benedict I could practically count the white hairs on his sacred head. And I threw it all away for the hopes of a clear shot with a camera phone of a car moving past me at seven miles per hour.
The minute the motorcade passed, I switched the phone back to video and got a depressing three seconds of the tail end of the Mercedes pulling through the gates and out of sight. Just like that, I had missed my chance for a frameworthy picture.
It wasn’t until later that Fr. Tim told me how I could have used an “image grab” to basically take a picture from the video I shot. How amazing that would have been!
Thinking back now, I guess I can (kind of) laugh about it. But I think what’s funnier is just how depressed I was about my poor judgement at the time. Seriously, could not laugh about it. Not at all.